Innovation Fest showcasing talent and expertise since 2014
Rehan Bhana, Senior Academic - Strategic Academic Alliances
Background to engagement activity
Originally established in 2014, Innovation Fest is a showcase of creative student talent from the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (CEBE). During the festival learners are encouraged to tackle real problems with research and innovation. The festival allows students to engage in enterprise and develop themselves as future world-changers. Businesses participate by offering their own business challenges as projects, or through participating in the judging process.
Engagement activity undertaken
Innovation Fest 2019 took place at Millennium Point on the BCU City Centre campus from 29-31 May, where BCU students from the CEBE faculty showcased project ideas and prototypes addressing industry and/or societal challenges. Over 400 projects, across all levels of university studies, were demonstrated, based upon the latest research, innovations, and technologies available. Typically projects involved participation and mentoring from leading organisations, including Microsoft, IBM and Cisco.
The final day of Innovation Fest 2019 was dedicated to engaging with businesses and providing them with the opportunity to meet the students and discuss their projects, but also to connect with academics and discuss their business challenges. Businesses were able to:
- Attend a knowledge transfer session, matching university expertise with business specialisms;
- Meet with learners and mentors, and establish possibilities for future collaborations to help drive innovation in business;
- Discuss opportunities for possible Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP); and
- Enjoy a guided tour of Innovation Fest 2019, sampling the projects on display and engaging with participants.
Student projects were assessed by panels of judges drawn from the University’s academic base and business representatives. Project ideas and prototypes were judged against designated business challenge themes, which included: health and safety; intelligent transportation; entrepreneurialism; social media recognition.
Research has indicated that SMEs can be unsure of how to start engaging with universities. By hosting Innovation Fest at BCU, CEBE were able to attract businesses in to see the facilities, meet the students and begin communication.
Businesses learnt about the latest in research, expertise, technology and processes that could be applied to their operation from academics in knowledge transfer sessions.
The live student projects were developed to respond to real business challenges using the latest technology and innovations, and participating businesses were encouraged to discuss how they could be applied to solve their business needs.
Evidence of impact
Innovation Fest has run continuously since 2014, growing each year with more businesses engaged as partners and sponsors, in setting briefs, as judges, and as visitors. Highlights of the 2019 event have been captured on camera and disseminated to further promote knowledge exchange and encourage future participation.
Dates of activity
2014 - present